Five Sanskrit Words to Live By


Sanskrit is the sacred language of Hinduism and is used in the spiritual texts of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Through the practice of yoga many of us have come to know some Sanskrit words like namaste, a Hindu greeting,  asana, which refers to the physical postures we practice in yoga and adhomukhasvanasana, better known as downward facing dog.

Sanskrit is also the sacred language used by the sages, prophets and religious leaders who wrote the spiritual and philosophical texts providing guidance on how to live a good life.From such a a rich and long tradition we can look to these teachers for insight on what we can do to live a good life and find happiness.

Here are five Sanskrit words that,if practiced daily, will help us get there.

Ahimsa-Non Violence

Ahimsa reminds us to not cause injury and do no harm.  Certainly we are all taught not to cause physical harm to others but it goes beyond that to include our thoughts and words.  Gossiping, talking about people behind their backs or speaking badly of others is also to be avoided. Being ahimsic is to practice love and acceptance of others and equally important for ourselves.


Santosa means acceptance and contentment with what we have. It is being grateful for what we have instead of unhappy about what we don’t have.  It is by cultivating gratitude we can find this contentment. As Cheryl Crow says “Its not getting what you want, its wanting what you’ve got.”

Drishti– Focus

Drishti is the focus or concentration used in meditation.  We can also incorporate this focus or directed effort to keep us in the present moment, and focused on where we are, who we are with and what we are doing.   A good word to remember when are smart phones chime and distract us to the constant delivery of messages texts and notifications.

Bhakti- Love or Devotion

Bhakti refers to the devotion to a higher power, a deity or God. It is pure unselfish love and a reverence to a God with the eventual goal of union with the divine or universal consciousness.    While bhakti is the basis for a religious life, lay people can also practice a form of bhakti through our actions and relationships. Showing kindness is a perfect way to begin the practice of bhakti.  We can, in our thoughts and actions, treat others the way we wish to be treated.In this way we are showing love and respect to the divine that resides in each of us.  In our intimate relationships this can be further enhanced.The love we share in our individual relationships are said to be our expression and acknowledgement of the divine we see in each other.


Namaste is a traditional Hindu greeting and is often used at the beginning and end of an asana class.   It literally means “I bow to you” or the light/divine  in me acknowledges the light/ divine in you.  Such a beautiful and generous greeting.  Using it daily is a subtle reminder to cultivate respect and love for our fellow human beings.

The Dalai Lama has told us

“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”

It is up to us to choose our journey, one of happiness or one of suffering.

Use these five words to help you walk a journey of happiness.

 Related Post: Yoga: Stability vs Flexibility?



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